Friday, September 15, 2006

Dancing Peacocks & the Quaking Lady

Shortly after Bugti’s killing if all the opposition parties had resigned in masse from the national and provincial assemblies, the ‘democratic’ façade would have toppled. This would have led to the political demise of PML(Q) and Musharraf, in that order.

But this has not happened and it is pertinent to ask why?

I believe it is because of the action and inaction of two political parties.

The Dancing Peacocks of the MMA.
Never have Maulana Fazlur Rahman and his Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Islam (JUI) had it so good. As the official leader of the opposition in parliament Fazlur Rehman has relished the weight the post has given him in the public eye. And his party men continue to enjoy the power and perks of MMA ministries in two provinces which were provided to them by the rigged 2002 election.

Having announced their intention resign from the assemblies as a protest against the Bugti’s killing, the MMA quickly backtracked. Then they pegged their resignations on the Hudood Amendment Bill and milked the issue for what its worth.

Currently the JUI crowd see themselves to be in a win-win position. If they prevent the modification of the monstrous Hudood laws against women, they will project themselves as champions of religion. If they fail in their mission and then resign, they will then portray themselves as political martyrs to the insidious forces of secularism.

In the meantime their provincial ministers, particularly in Balochistan, are raking it in. Money, apparently, has no religion.

The Quaking Lady
Don’t believe the PPP when they say that the Swiss case against Benazir Bhutto (and Asif Zardari) is political eyewash. It isn’t and the lady knows it.

The evidence against Benazir Bhutto and her spouse was strong enough to convict her in July 2003 of money laundering (the charge of corruption was not included as the funds had been placed in Geneva banks prior to the recent enactment of Swiss anti-corruption legislation) by Swiss Magistrate, Daniel Devaud.

Benazir Bhutto appealed the case. Unfortunately for her now there is an additional charge of aggravated money laundering which carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail as well as a fine of about one million Swiss francs if Bhutto is found guilty.

While she is trying to drag out the hearing as long as possible, time is, nevertheless, against her.

Under pressure – despite the so-called Charter of Democracy – it is widely believed she is in secret contact with Musharraf’s emissaries.

Musharraf is obviously keeping his options open. If the plans for the heavily rigged 2007 elections come awry, then he can do a deal with Benazir Bhutto and prolong his stint in power.

Previously Interpol had issued Red Corner notices on the two at the instance of Pakistan government some months ago. That, however, was more of an advisory than a warrant for arrest.

Last week the District and Sessions Court in Islamabad ordered officials to issue the warrants to the couple through Interpol The latest court ruling may help the government to issue arrest warrants through Interpol, in which case Benazir, who lives in Dubai and London in self-exile, may face arrest and extradition.


To prevent the MMA and the PPP from resigning from the Assemblies it is a case of desperately offered carrots for the MMA and the brandishing of a stout stick at Benazir Bhutto.

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